Fiction · Gallimaufry

Care of the Moon

The sun drips behind a mountain range. Lustering clouds bulge high then widen. One breathes in droplets the gracious welkin as if in sport. She is graceful in her expansion, cycling through a billow of personalities. Each begs for attention. Each swells for interpretation. A girl bends to pick a flower. As she tilts her gaze on you, the face morphs. An old man’s head lowers for an involuntary nap. You recognize him as the fleeting cousin of a famed elderly mountainside apparition in cliffs whiter than these. His hairs, wiry white, splash into a pool opening in his neck. An old headmaster, thick-necked and pink-faced, emerges. His cheeks are two blobbing pillows. His jowls fold in on themselves as he glares disapprovingly beyond the horizon.

As the cluster passes across the mountain and reveals the waning progress of the sun, all is ephemerally bright. Shadows spread over the plains. Swaying sunflower fields find stillness, their stalks limply bowing golden faces to rest. Quiet twilight scuttles on both left and right of the stage curtains. Dusk awaits his call. He is the fifth-act twist the audience senses, knows is coming, but whose shape they can never quite conjure. No matter how timeless his role, he feels a chill of angst before each appearance, signs of which he slips silently into shadow.

When the whisper of day can no longer be heard, the pocket of ground my periphery is granted becomes blanketed in royal purple. The mountains, dark and assuring, are shrouded by the absence of light. The sun reassures me of her return in care of the glowing moon. She comforts my naked feet with the heat she’s given the soil. I soak in the night, eager to learn its secrets, until the fire wheel spires at dawn.

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